Hot Tip Harry: Tips from Our Readers -- August 2006

6 Aug, 2006 By: Bill Kramer

Delete repeated dimensions and tidy your drawings.

Great News for Harry Tipsters!Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2006, sponsored by Autodesk, just got better with even bigger prizes. You already know that the author of each published tip will receive a Cadalyst t-shirt, and the author of each month's best tip will receive $100 cash. Now, authors of all tips published in 2006 also will be entered into two year-end drawings. One lucky winner will receive a copy of AutoCAD 2007, courtesy of Autodesk, and a second winner will receive a trip to Autodesk University 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. For contest details and rules or to submit your tip, go to

Download code for this and all articles. Look for AUG06.exe in Get the Code. Downloads are free and are provided "as is" without warranty or support.

Tips are tested using AutoCAD 2006, unless otherwise noted. By submitting code to Cadalyst, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute your code in print, digitally and by other means. Cadalyst and individual authors retain all rights to the code, and it is not to be used for commercial purposes.

Important note: Be sure your submission contains all elements required for it to run independently using AutoCAD 2006. Tips that are missing functions or other necessary elements will not be considered.

All published tips earn the author a Cadalyst
t-shirt, and the tip judged best each month earns the author $100. Click here for details about the Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2006.

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The tips are really pouring in! Harry looks at all of them carefully before passing them on to you. This eclectic set of utilities has passed Harry's tests and is ready for your education, amusement and productivity. Keep on programmin'!

Attribute Edit Utility (Tip #2136) from Chad Douglas automates various tasks you may need to accomplish with attributes. Load the code into AutoCAD and type ATS at the command prompt to activate. It gives you three choices: Change, Match and Increment. Change lets you enter a new text value and select the attribute to change. Match is like Change except that the new text value is based on your selection of an existing attribute text value. Increment lets you set a starting number (or single character) then select attributes to have incrementing text values. Nice job, Chad!

Quick Plot Command Set (Tip #2137) is bit of LISP programming from JD Henman is intended to be a template to help you set the plotter variables and operate the Plot command so that you don't have to do it. This is a very useful utility when working with multiple CAD stations and plotters and you have a limited amount of time for training. A tip of the hat from Harry for this very useful support specialist utility set.

Ordinate Dimensioning (Tip #2138) from Rodney Thomas shows that you can improve a good thing with a little programming effort. Load the AutoLISP code into AutoCAD and type JTDMORD to activate. Rodney's utility improves on the AutoCAD Dimord command by remembering things like the location of the text along the edge. The AutoLISP sets and runs the AutoCAD dimensioning system, providing a very powerful utility and example for advanced programmers.

Area Output (Tip #2139) from James J. Olszewski is a simple function that gets the area of a closed object (polyline) and outputs the text at a desired location. Load the LISP code and type AREAO to run the function inside AutoCAD. It requests an object, then a point for the area text to be generated using the current system defaults. This code is simple, sweet and gets the job done -- that is what LISP is all about!

Profile From Data Points (Tip #2140) by Pedro Ferreira is a civil engineering power tool that generates a cut section along a path as defined by a polyline through a cloud of points. An example drawing is provided with the LISP function for you to try. The data points are 3D and are collected automatically based on the layer name. A polyline represents the XY path through the points. When finished (it could take a few seconds or even minutes depending on your computer power), it draws a profile section. You can exaggerate the Z scale of the profile or just use the default value of one. This is some fine number crunching!

Trajectory Computation (Tip #2141), by Albert Botton, is another great number crunching example. This function draws a representation of the trajectory for objects dropping off a moving conveyor line. Once loaded, type TRJ at the AutoCAD Command line to get the belts moving. Several inputs are required as related to the speed of the belt, pulley details, material details and other dimensions before it calculates and displays the trajectory. A nice set of programming loaded with comments and other useful programmer utilities.

Hatch Back (Tip #2142), by Jimmy Bergmark, is a rebuild of a tip originally submitted several years ago. The LISP contains a command function, Hatchb (or HB for short) that lets you create the objects that define a hatch object boundary. After loading the LISP code, type HB at the AutoCAD Command prompt. It then asks you to select a hatch object. The boundary is drawn as a polyline around the hatch pattern. This function is updated to work in all of the most recent versions of AutoCAD and represents a fine set of programming.

Delete Dimensions (Tip #2143) from Theresa Poole is this month's top tip. Poole uses QDIM and windows an entire floor plan resulting in repeated dimensions for interior wall thickness. This function hunts down dimensions that have the same value (her default value is 3.5") and removes them from the drawing. This is real production productivity in drawing at work. This tip contains tips within the tip such as using QDIM to get the dimensions done quickly followed by a sweep of the drawing by a LISP program. That is the sort of productivity thinking that deserves a Hot Tip Harry t-shirt! Great job! Thanks and a tip of the hat from Harry.

Send in Source Code
Do you have an original set of programming you'd like to send into Harry? Make sure you supply all the source code. That means third-party vendor software that is encrypted or compiled cannot be accepted as a tip, even with the permission of the original author. Harry wants the source code so he can check it out before running the submitted tips. After all, how good is a tip without sources?

About the Author: Bill Kramer

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